The Power of Self-Compassion in Managing ADHD

Living with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can be challenging, but practicing self-compassion can significantly contribute to managing its symptoms. Self-compassion involves treating yourself with acceptance, kindness, and understanding, which can create a growth mindset and enhance overall well-being. Here are three specific examples of how self-compassion can empower you to navigate through the complexities of ADHD.

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Handling ADHD Medication Shortages

I had several clients run out of their ADHD medication, and due to drug shortages were unable to find the medication needed in time for their final exams. The result was  disappointing losses for their academics, mental health and social lives. I encourage all families who love someone with ADHD to create a plan of action to obtain enough medication to last through the entire semester.

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Loneliness Epidemic after the Pandemic

Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, issued an advisory this year about how social isolation and loneliness have become widespread problems in the United States. In the advisory, Dr Murthy says that given these profound consequences, loneliness should be treated the same way that we address tobacco use, obesity, and the opioid addiction crisis. Murthy goes on to say that we “are called to build a movement to mend the social fabric of our nation. It will take all of us…working together to destigmatize loneliness and change our cultural and policy response to it.”

During the lockdown part of the pandemic, I  experienced an intensity of loneliness that I had not felt for many years. The usual solitude of living on a small farm evaporated into isolation. As an extrovert, I needed to see and hug and be in the presence of others. I am grateful for family and good friends who worked with me to connect as we were able.

I see that loneliness linger in some of my clients. The solitary and clerical nature of online learning has created a silo effect, a rugged independence and reluctance to dialogue with one another.  The asynchronous structure of classes are for self paced individual learning. Discussion boards have not proven to be able to substitute for live discussion and community building. Some of the most enjoyable learning happens as we talk about the class material. We digest new information when we listen to other people’s perspectives and questions.

This fall I will be implementing a community of care model in my coaching groups. The group members will use their ability to listen well, their perspective and knowledge to help each other. A simple question they might ask one another is “what do you need and how can I help you?” By caring for one another, we create a foundation of togetherness that combats loneliness and supports our well-being.

I encourage you to find a circle of loved ones who will create with you your own community of care. Together, through connection, we can heal from the isolation effects of the pandemic.

Co-working Sessions

Co-working sessions are intentional, timed working sessions executed either with one other person or a group of people.  They are easy to arrange and are one of the best ways to both increase motivation and focus and combat the confusion and loneliness that often accompany working alone.

Co-working sessions can be done in person or online. Meeting online is especially beneficial now as social distancing prevents them from meeting face to face and if they are doing online course work that requires an ability to initiate work sessions independently.

You can set up your own co-working sessions in person or on Zoom, Skype or even FaceTime. You can also try www.focusmate.com which is a community of people from all over the world who co-work online together. You can get three free sessions per week and you are able to schedule around the clock.

Co-working is the kind of experience you don’t really understand until you try it. If you have a healthy skepticism about it or feel a little shy to work with someone in silence that you may not know, it’s ok to start by asking friends to join you. As you gain experience and start to feel more comfortable you can branch out to working with strangers. The quality of accountability is well worth the discomfort inherent in the learning curve.

Co-working session’s duration can range between thirty minutes to three hours. Most of the co-working sessions I have participated in have lasted sixty minutes. You may want to consider a stretch or bathroom break every thirty minutes to prevent burn out. Some people find the two hour sessions most helpful when they have difficulty initiating tasks.

Co-working provides numerous benefits to those that utilize it, including:

  • increased energy and focus through verbalization of goals
  • relief of difficulties such as loneliness
  • sense of urgency and relevance to the work at hand thanks to the limited time of the session
  • reduced distraction by defining the work space and time
  • emotional accountability
  • strong sense of accomplishment
  • someone to celebrate the accomplishment with

Here is how to set up a co-working session:

  • Arrange with others to meet online to work together. Common ways to meet are Zoom, Skype or FaceTime.
  • The session starts with a quick greeting and a verbal share of what you hope to accomplish together in the agreed upon time.
  • Then you work together in silence for the agreed upon time.
  • At the end of your agreed upon time, you share with your coworkers how much you accomplished.

Co-working sessions are easy to arrange and emotionally difficult for some to get started with, but if you push past your initial discomfort, you can benefit many rewards of increased motivation and higher levels of focused productivity.